The Employee Side of My Business is Driving Me Crazy!

Sounds to me you need a better screening process.

Even with a stellar screening process some still slip thru the cracks tho. I had severe issues like yourself until I did what another window cleaner in my area did.

Put out the ad, and in the ad make sure you put in it that they need to show you a recent DMV printout (it cost 5 or 10 bucks) upon arrival at the interview. There have been a few on this forum that point them to a website meant for the hiring of employees that will take video of the candidates and answer a couple questions for you in the video. This way you can see if they care enough to look like they even want a job.

THEN comes the interview, where you can ask questions about health issues and other questions that would enable you to find the best one for the job.

Check facebook pages. Social media does wonders. Birds of a feather flock together.

The DMV printout and video both make them jump thru hoops to show you they are willing to do what it takes to get the job.

This will weed out 5 from 1000 trust me. Even outta those 5 you may not find who you want.

Myself, I put in the ad that millitary backgrounds are highly preferred. If you’ve had a veteran or someone honorably discharged work for you then you already know what I mean. In my opinion, the majority of them are just better workers at whatever they do and they command respect just by the way they carry themselves, and thats something I value in someone who wears my family crest on their shirt.

This will help in finding a quality person to be part of the family, your systems, and improving them on a weekly basis will and should do the rest.

I held a meeting every Friday morning before the guys went out with them and the customer care manager and we would go over the highlighted jobs for the week. The ones that were stellar and if there were any complaints, even minor ones.

Praise came first, the complaints next but with the goal of tweaking the system not browbeating the fellas. So, I’d ask my CCM what the complaint was, how we resolved it, asked the tech how he thought the problem came about and what he thought could be done to keep it from happening again. Then I’d put it to the floor “anybody have another idea on how to make it better?” and if there were ideas, we’d listen, vote on the best one and write it into the checklist for the tech’s.

A word to the wise:
Take your checklist with you and go and do a job on your own or with a helper and make sure YOU follow the list to make sure it’s not stupid.

I was a nazi at making the crew leader initialed and checked off every step on that list on pains of termination, and had the suspicion that it was just being done right before they got back from the office.

So I went out and did it myself, half that list was just silly. How are they supposed to do their job AND have them check that list durring the job? It didn’t work. In fact I got pissed because I had to check it off. It was stupid. Even after the job was done, it took too long to check everything off when the homeowner is looking to move on with her day, besides…she’s made to sign off that the work was completed the way she wanted.

Just saying, in theory the systems should work perfect. Just make sure its practical and not counterproductive by following them yourself to make sure.

Don’t ask me about retaining them. Because I haven’t figured that out yet.

I was paying 35 an hour, and I’d get them calling in sick and straight out missing days if they had 2 days off in the week.
While my good friend pays his guys 12 bucks an hour and they won’t miss a day unless they’re in the hospital!


I can’t speak from a employer, when I was a supervisor at my last company every school holidays we used to get about 50 schools and colleges to clean the windows of and only have a short time to get them all done, the boss would hire about 20+ guys each holiday period I had the pleasure of telling the really bad ones not to bother coming back the next day.
1/3 of them would be gone after the 1st week. 1 or 2 every year actually showed enough of what it takes to get a job full time/part time and the other 19 or so were never seen of again after the schools.

The most amusing things are when you get some guy who has been doing it 10 years get told after the 1st day not to bother coming back, because they are worse than rookies who have never picked up a squeegee.


Have you asked your Attorney if there’s any legal action you can take?

Welcome to the club.

Thats just part of the game. EVERY SINGLE GUY I HAD has done the same thing. One of them, who already had his own biz was actually my crew leader and after I helped him get his website etc, he started getting calls for bids on the same jobs as me!

One time he was called to a high profile prevailing wage job I was starting in 3 days before contracts were signed (where he was to lead the crew) and calls me on his way back from the site to let me know he’s bidding on it.

AND WHERE HE UNDERBID ME BY 80%! Of course he got the job.

That was the last time we really spoke.

A non compete ain’t worth the paper its written on.

1 Like

Read it here first and say it monthly “i will take the headache over the backache”

I have zero desire to clean glass daily.

Labor force will always be an issue for us, particularly the resi focused outfits.

Find a great one, fast track them and take care of them.

Think we hired 40 guys this year. 15 of those did not last a day or week. Got 4 solid ones now.

Don’t give up, you are one hire away from a big difference

Oh, I hate the hiring process


Great reply @DaveYogi

So, just to add a little to this saga - today I had to fire another guy! About a month ago, a customer called to say that after my Technician had cleaned her gutters, a roofer had been up on the roof and pointed out to her that her gutters had a lot of debris in them. Sure enough, I went out there and checked myself, and an hour and a half later, I had filled up a 5 gallon bucket with debris he should have gotten out the day before! And to top it off, he swore that she was lying, and that what the home owner was saying was impossible! After finding out that my Technician had lied to me, I told him that if his quality of work was ever so shoddy again, I would fire him.

Well, today I got an email from a customer that he had serviced just yesterday. She said he left his bucket on her roof. So, I went out to retrieve the bucket, and happened to look in the gutters, and what do you suppose I found? Yep, right. There was all kind of dirt and debris, that he was supposed to have cleaned just the day before. I filled up a 5 gallon bucket half way with dirt and debris and spent over an hour of my weekend finishing a job that he supposedly had done the day before. I could tell that he didn’t flush the downspouts, because when I did dirty water ran out. If he had flushed them, they would have ran clear. Needless to say, I called and fire him.

So, I’m looking AGAIN! It seems like this never ends. I’m getting so tired of it, but haven’t got any idea of how to fix it. I appreciate all the ideas, but I’m already putting a lot of them into practice.

It almost makes me want to shrink the business to a point where I can do all the work. But, that would defeat my goal, which is to have a turnkey company.

1 Like

i usually advertize for workers in ad placed in a shop window - parttime helper wanted for window cleaning biz. i make no mention that its ladderwork within a fortnight and oh it can be gruelling ,nothing that could put off anybody is mentioned. its quite important they like hard work [you want the grafter ,not the shirker] so i set up an initial test once they start . usually i start them off with a spot of flyering, a few days at it with a large and checkable area to cover -this is the test -but they dont know it-will prove whether theyv got guts or not (without taking any risks to my biz [such as shoddy windows] nor ladder risks. i make sure they know its just a few days ,then youll move onto other work that THEY have brought in.make sure they meet up with my regular workers who will give them moral support

How long did these people work for you? How much training did they get?

I find guys love to cut corners on gutters. We had to implement a few things this year.

Why not have them take pictures of gutters once cleaned and text them to you?

What we had to do was implement that every single gutter get sprayed out with water. Now if there is a complaint the client is either wrong or the employee has zero excuse.

On your last point. there was a brief period I was solo this Spring. While out doing jobs I was happy and at peace. Ying yang to growth or staying small.


I have a friend of mine that is part owner of an alarm company. He said he often finds potential employees that are waiters or waitresses. While he is eating at a restaurant, he takes notice of how they interact with him and his family, other customers, coworkers, etc. If he has a good feeling about them, he introduces himself and offers his business card if they are interested. He did say it is a numbers game. Eventually you will find someone that will stay a while.

I personally like working by myself. I couldn’t handle the stress of employees. I have so much respect for people that have employees. I know they have to deal with a lot.


Subway gave me early college kids

Red Robin gives me post college aged young men.

This year I went with poaching employees from physical outside labor. Tree cutters etc. Found 2 great ones


Are you paying hourly or commission?

Easy to battle that one.

Have your tech take before and after photos. Show the homeowner the photos afterwards. In fact, what I do is a free water flow test to make sure they flow right and video it being done.

You can also upload the media to dropbox and send the homeowner the link. Link is good for 30 days.

Each homeowner that signs on to dropbox you get a few gigs more of data to your account, I think I got like a terabyte or so.

Takes all that away in a quickness.

No photos, no pay.

Boom. Problem solved.

1 Like

Masters_WC - It seems like you are on the right track to automating your biz.
Automating the recruiting, screening and hiring process is huge.
It is one of the biggest levers in maximizing your business.

We use a screening process that weeds out losers and time wasters 98%+ of the time.
It’s not perfect, but is saves a ton of time. IN past years, hiring a new guy burned 15 - 25
hours of time. Ads, reading resumes, replying, screening, calling, setting up interviews,
and conducting interviews.
Now, our hiring / screening process takes 2 -3 hours max. And we only talk to people
that are motivated and interested.

You can download our screening cheatsheet here, if you want.

Hope it helps.